“All The President’s Men is a true story about a major piece of American history, and I didn’t think it should be gussied up and ‘movie’d up’ and souped up for ‘entertainment value.'” -Alan J. Pakula (Brown 155)
“I am oblique, I think that has to do with my own nature. I like trying to do things which work on many levels, because I think it is terribly important to give an audience a lot of things they might not get as well as those they will, so that finally the film does take on a texture and is not just simplistic communication.” -Alan J. Pakula
Alan J. Pakula
Alan J. Pakula was a well-respected American film writer, producer and director. His huge success on films such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Klute “won him the much sought after privilege of ‘final cut’ – the right to determine precisely how his films would be shown, without interference from film studios, financial contributors, or anyone else” (Brown Preface 7). This left Pakula with a lot of responsibility for the accurate representation of the story of Woodward and Bernstein as he was ultimately left with the final decision on how things would be shown. Pakula’s biography, written by Jared Brown after the directors passing in 2005, tells of his motivation for film making being deeply rooted “in many cases, to the hope to create a more just society, generally by probing the weaknesses of America’s system of government and its most powerful institutions” (Preface 11).
As director of All The President’s Men, Pakula strove to keep his own bias’ from influencing the film too much by stepping back and incorporating the views of all those involved in the films production rather that acting as “auteur.”
To ensure accuracy in the film, Pakula spent months at the Post sitting in on conferences and even listening to phone conversations. The director’s slow, meticulous research for the film resulted in some astounding accuracies in the portrayal of the setting and behaviors that can be seen at the real Washington Post (Brown 156).
Because of Pakula’s drive to create a film that would challenge and unveil the weakness of the government, he set out to create something that would not only entertain, but also open the eyes of the viewer to the problems that he saw in our government. According to Jared Brown, “Warner Bros. was becoming nervous. Each time the studio asked to look at the script, they saw that the screenplay was becoming more serious, more focused on the routines of investigative journalism, less concerned with comic byplay among the characters” (160). Warner Bros. was most concerned with creating a film that would be incredibly popular and make a lot of money. Alan J. Pakula, however, was driven by motives on a grander scale. His dedication to representing the historical accounts of the Watergate investigation resulted in a finished film that stuck rigidly to the real, true historical accounts while at the same time subtly expressing his personal views as well as the views of all others involved in the films creation.